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Monday, July 26, 2021

Euro 2020: Netherlands complete clean sweep in Group C; Austria into last-16

The Netherlands had already sealed the top spot in Group C after beating Ukraine and Austria in their first two matches and they will play their last-16 match in Budapest on Sunday.

By: Reuters |
Updated: June 22, 2021 8:07:31 am
Netherlands' Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates his second goal against North Macedonia. (Twitter/Euro 2020)

Georginio Wijnaldum scored a second-half double as the Netherlands defeated North Macedonia 3-0 to keep their perfect record on their way to the European Championship knockout stages on Monday.

The Netherlands had already sealed top spot in Group C after beating Ukraine and Austria, and they will play their last-16 game in Budapest on Sunday against one of the best third-placed finishers from Groups D, E or F.

North Macedonia, which is out of contention for the last 16 after back-to-back defeats, made a much-improved start as Ivan Trickovski’s early strike was ruled out for offside before Aleksandar Trajkovski smacked the post from 20 yards.

But Igor Angelovski’s side were soon caught out by a stunning Dutch counterattack when PSV Eindhoven forward Donyell Malen charged upfield to set up Memphis Depay, who slotted it home for his second goal of the tournament.

Wijnaldum doubled the Dutch advantage with a tap in from close range and added a third just before the hour mark to put the result beyond doubt in front of a partisan crowd at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

North Macedonia’s Goran Pandev received a guard of honour from his team mates when he was substituted off about 10 minutes later, in what he has said would be his final appearance for his country.

Austria advance to last 16 with win over Ukraine

Austria advanced to the European Championship knockout stages for the first time after it beat Ukraine 1-0 in its final Group C match on Monday to finish second and set up a last 16 clash with Italy.

The Netherlands, which was confirmed as group winners after beating both Ukraine and Austria, defeated bottom side North Macedonia 3-0 in the other fixture to finish with nine points while Austria has six from two wins.

Christoph Baumgartner, who looked shaken after a clash of heads with Illia Zabarnyi minutes earlier, scored in the 21st minute from a corner when he beat the Ukrainian defender to prod home from a teasing David Alaba delivery.

The groggy Austrian midfielder was withdrawn 10 minutes later and his replacement Alessandro Schopf nearly set up a second when he found Marko Arnautovic on a counter-attack but the forward’s side-footed attempt was well off target.

Ukraine, which was sloppy in possession and rarely threatened in the final third, has three points and must wait to see if it advances as one of the four best third-placed teams.

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